Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Radio Games

This morning NPR revisits an old story: controversy over a video game (see this April 09 USA Today article) glorifying the US pulverization of Fallujah. If you don't recall what the US did in NPR, don't expect to ever learn about it on NPR - but others have covered it.

A year after the attack, Dahr Jamail described the many war crimes he covered during and after the assault including the use of "various odd weapons" (including banned incendiary devices) and frequent, intentional killings of civilians. Also a year after the assault, George Monibot reported in the Guardian,
"Both the invasion of Iraq and the assault on Fallujah were illegal acts of aggression. Before attacking the city, the marines stopped men "of fighting age" from leaving. Many women and children stayed: the Guardian's correspondent estimated that between 30,000 and 50,000 civilians were left. The marines treated Falluja as if its only inhabitants were fighters. They levelled thousands of buildings, illegally denied access to the Iraqi Red Crescent and, according to the UN's special rapporteur, used 'hunger and deprivation of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population'."
Interestingly, NPR's coverage of the video game is almost identical to the same "fair and balanced" story on Fox and Friends back on June 11, 2009 - although NPR's story is - if anything - more praiseworthy of the US destruction of Fallujah. Both stories cover only the critique of the video game as offensive to the families of US soldiers killed in Fallujah - not the atrocities committed by the US military there. Like Fox's coverage, NPR's positive spin focuses on the use of the game to teach about what NPR's Laura Sydell calls "a pivotal moment in the Iraqi conflict." Like Fox she allows game consultant and Fallujah veteran, retired Marine Captain Read Omohundro to tout the educational value of the game, claiming that it "will explain the war to people in a manner that helps them associate why war is not a game." Given the complete omission of the cost of the Fallujah attack on human life and infrastructure in the city, Leyden's statement that "Six Days in Fallujah recreates the feel and look of the city as well as actual events in the battle" is painful to swallow.

As an interesting aside, if you look at this web page from Atomic Games, the company creating "Six Days of Fallujah" you can read the following in the "About Atomic Games" section:
"Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, Atomic Games is a video game development studio pioneering new kinds of Historical Action video games. Atomic is owned by a variety of employees and investors, including In-Q-Tel, a private venture capital firm funded by the United States Central Intelligence Agency."

4 comments:

gope said...

Wow. This exposes the axis of the CIA/NPR propaganda machine complex as well as anything else we've seen. The US war machine doesn't have to worry that some HS history teacher will actually tell the truth about Faluja since most HS students will ignore their teacher and believe the game. These games, such as "America's Army" are also distributed by military recruiters. That's some sick shit, Willis.

To be fair, it may be hard for NPR to research the truth about Faluja because they have to have their reporters embedded.

Halo 3 has US Army Sniper Schools. Having an 18-year-old son, I can vouch for the effectiveness of this shit. Some of the teens I've had come around have sniper rifle fetishes. Isn't that sweet?

GRUMPY DEMO said...

This is a really sick pattern. Ignore the 100,000+ troops and also +100,000 mercs, er "contractors". But report on a vaporware game and other trivia.

What's really bizarre, is that last last week NPR features a story about the relationship between an Iraqi solider and his attack dog, it was heart warming (no mention of the more infamous use of attack dogs at Abu Grave.)


Since September 08, just before the election, our troops in Iraq disappears for NPR reporting radar screen, the surge worked, we won no need to report.

If it wasn't for Fresh Air, I don't think NPR would have any coverage of our continuing fiasco. Like a dysfunctional family, we can't talk about what Daddy W did to our troops.

dguzman said...

Boy howdy, if the whole story didn't make me ill, I definitely felt the bile coming up when I read that part about the game company's relationship with the CIA.

We are soooooo fucked.

Anonymous said...

How come the media misses such an important fact!

What else have we missed with these kinds of connections and the media?